Thursday, February 19, 2009

An axe for Saxman's bills

Delegate Chris Saxman (R-20) saw several of his bills get a well-deserved axe in the Virginia Senate yesterday. The delegate had ginned up lots of attention for a constitutional amendment to protect Virginia's right-to-work laws. Totally unnecessary - those laws are well enshrined in state law and culture. It was all grandstanding for the anti-union crowd.
Saxman also saw his bill to designate royalties from off-shore drilling go to Chesapeake Bay cleanup, transportation, and renewable energy. While CCC can support each of those goals, there is one problem - Virginia gets zero royalties because there is currently a federal moratorium on off-shore drilling. Another bit of grandstanding to kiss up to the "Drill Here, Drill Now" fanatics. The delegate's bill was ill-timed - bring it up again if/when there is off-shore drilling. It makes no sense to mandate specific spending today when future priorities may be very different.
And the Staunton delegate again cringed when his tax credits for organizations that provide scholarships bit the dust. He's been pushing some variation of tax credits/vouchers for private schools since he's been in the General Assembly. It is never the right time for public money (either vouchers or tax breaks) to support private schools (unless they meet the same SOL standards of public schools), but these tax credits at a time of severe budget shortfalls was absurd. Senator Emmett Hanger abstained - in previous years he's voted against his GOP friend.
Tonight is the night for Delegate Saxman's 15,000 home conference call for him to listen to voters. He'll probably talk about each of the kill bills to eek out a little political propaganda. Ought to be interesting to find out (not that we ever will) how many people (1) answer the phone, (2) stay on the call more than a few minutes, and (3) get a chance to ask the delegate a question. I'm all in favor of communication between the people and elected officials, but the possibility that Delegate Saxman does more listening than talking is as remote as the Dolly Sods. Bob Dickerman, the Staunton Democratic Chair, said it better in his letter to the editor.
Cross-posted at We Will RockDem.

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